Friday, June 24, 2011

Reinventing the Bicycle

The Bicycle.

A frame supported by two wheels. Human powered by using pedals at the feet. In the US it's used mostly for transportation, such as commuting to school and work, or recreation. My mom and I recently started a 6 mile cycling route to get in shape for the trip.

But in Uganda, the bicycle has more uses. Many men use it to make a living with their own bicycle taxi service. You walk up to him, agree to a fee, and he takes you wherever you need to go. Neither hills, nor traffic, nor potholes will keep him from getting you to your destination. It's hard to tell in the photo below, but this woman is riding sideways with a child on her lap (you can see the small white shoe near the bike's reflector). I don't know about you, but at times I have a hard time balancing on my own bike when no one is around me. So having someone riding on the back or having to ride "side saddle" might not end well for me.

People aren't the only thing being transported on bicycles in Uganda. Here a man and his family have a load of matoke bananas they're taking somewhere.

Need some water? The vast majority of Ugandan's do not have running water and can spend hours traveling to a well. This guy is either selling this water in town or has a big family and lots of laundry to wash.

I'm not really sure what's going on in this next picture. But it appears that this man has his goats tied to his bicycle. I'm not sure if the goats pull his bicycle, or maybe they run alongside (can goats even run?)

Who's this? Every child's favorite guy: The Ice Cream Man!!! Yes they have those in Uganda. And they even have a little machine that plays music like the ice cream trucks here in the States. This man travels with his bicycle scooping out happiness wherever he goes.

Now this guy has talent. He's not only riding a bike, but he's riding a bike with a bed on the back. Now all he needs to do is find a way to transport and cook some eggs and he can start his own bed and breakfast.

You're in Uganda and really in need of some new furniture for your home, so you go walk the streets and find a carpenter who specializes in furniture making. You buy a chair and two couches from him but you think to yourself, how will I get them home? Does Uganda have U-Hauls? They do if U-Haul it on your bike!

Uganda, East Africa. Reinventing the Bicycle.

- Aly

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